HBO brass got on the phone with EW to talk about their decision to renew Game of Thrones after one episode. Below, HBO co-president Richard Plepler and programming president Michael Lombardo answer some of your burning questions from our comment boards:
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What made you decide to renew Thrones?
MICHAEL LOMBARDO: It’s a great show that only gets better with every episode, and when it ends you’re left wanting more. On a creative level, it was screaming for another season. We absolutely had an expectation that this would be a slow [ratings] build. It’s challenging for people who’ve decided it’s not a genre for them. The word of mouth has been great and we don’t even have OnDemand numbers yet. We thought it was a great starting place.
RICHARD PLEPLER: It’s a quintessential HBO show — it has a passionate connection with a big part of our audience. Whether the final number is 7 or 8 million viewers, it doesn’t take anything away from the addictive quality of the show for a large chunk of our audience.
How many episodes is the second season?
ML: It’s such a challenging show to produce. They don’t have a writing staff — it’s just the two of them [exec producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss]. The idea is to do ten of them again, and that’s what they want to do, to maintain the quality of their work.
When will season two premiere?
ML: We don’t want people to wait more than a year. This is a production challenge. You have to start every season anew [adding more locations].
RP: Same time, next year.
When will production start?
ML: The producers are scouting locations for second season now. That’s all to be discussed.
When is the first season DVD being released?
RP: Generally, it becomes available immediately before, or immediately after, the second season starts — but we haven’t had those conversations yet. And with the advent of HBO Go, people will be able to watch this when they want, how they want.
If Thrones ratings stay right where they are now, are you happy?
RP: Yes, absolutely. With the VOD and multiplex, we’re going to get substantially over 6 million [viewers]. True Blood‘s numbers were nowhere near that [the first season]. It’s a strong show for us. The best thing we have going for us is word of mouth, that’s the biggest driver you can get. The Twitter action this morning is tremendous. This is only going to build.